Have you ever watched a duck on a pond? Under the smooth surface of the water are two little webbed feet churning furiously to keep the bird gliding along.

That’s a pretty good description of how IFTA and IRP work. By all appearances, they make it easier to collect tax dollars fairly and efficiently. For those of you who haven’t been around as long as me, I remember the days when you dealt with each jurisdiction individually. That’s right, 59 separate decals or licenses. Up to 59 separate fuel tax returns filed either monthly or quarterly. It was exhausting work.

While IFTA and IRP have made taxes and vehicle registration simpler to manage, these programs still require a lot work below the surface to make sure they function properly. These agreements are living documents which are constantly being tweaked and changed. 

The majority of the work to keep the IFTA and IRP agreements current is managed by a group of dedicated individuals from government and industry. These folks volunteer to participate in the committees which form the backbone of the IFTA and IRP organizations.

From Feb. 9-11, many of these dedicated individuals will be in Las Vegas at the annual IFTA/IRP Audit Workshop. This year’s agenda focuses on perhaps the biggest shift we’ll experience as fleet tax professionals: the move from manual to electronic records, and how it will change the way distance and fuel are reported and incorporated into IFTA/IRP audit plans.

Nobody likes filing tax returns or compiling distance for prorate renewals. But understanding how much work goes into maintaining the programs might help to make it more interesting and even palatable. 

Stay tuned to our blog and our series on the importance of the organizations and people who make these programs work for you. We’ll provide daily summaries from the workshop, so keep watching!